What is a home mortgage?

A home mortgage is a debt secured against your house. If you do not make the payments required by your mortgage agreement, your lender can try to take your home.  The lender does this by starting a foreclosure action against you in Supreme Court.

What if I start to fall behind on my mortgage payments?

Once you miss a few mortgage payments, the lender will contact you to tell you that you are behind (in default). After missing several payments, the lender will send you a letter stating that you have violated the terms of the mortgage. The letter will tell you that you have about 30 days to bring the payments current. If you do not bring the payments current within that time, the lender may start a foreclosure proceeding.

At least 90 days before bringing the foreclosure proceeding, the lender must give you pre-foreclosure notice.  The notice will advise you that you are in danger of losing your home and how much you need to pay to bring the mortgage current.  The notice will give you the names and telephone numbers of approved not-for-profit housing counseling agencies.

How can a housing counselor help me?

Housing counselors can give you advice on your options at little or no cost.  They may also negotiate with your lender.  A list of approved not-for-profit housing foreclosure counselors can be found at the New York State Department of Banking website.  If you want to save your home, it’s a good idea to call a counselor for help right away.

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Last Reviewed: January 1, 2023